Posted by: Susan Loken | February 20, 2011

Austin Half Marathon

<< Me and Joan Benoit Samuelson

First, I want to say congratulations to my teammates Kerry Camberg and Suzanne Poles Klausner, who ran PRs in the marathon! Kerry placed 4th overall. WAY TO GO LADIES!

Goal: 1:21 half marathon

At start: 65 degrees, 80% humidity

High (that day): 81 degrees

Feeling: A sore throat and lack of race gear.

Course: Hills, hills and more hills & some wind (just for fun)

Warm-up: I didn’t get in much of one. We jogged a little to the start. I jumped in the front of corral #1 and started to run up and down the street doing strides, but I was told that only numbers 1-100 were allowed up there. (I was #110!) Yes, I’m a little spoiled. I’ve been fortunate to be considered Elite at most races I’ve run for the last 6 years. Not today!  I don’t need to be so spoiled all the time, so this was just fine.  I stayed behind the line of volunteers that separated the elite from the rest of the runners and watched them.

The race: I started quick and immediately passed the 2:46 pace group (the marathoners ran along side of us until mile 11). I wanted to finish the half in under 1:21. But before I finished the first mile, the group caught me. I paced with them. I already wasn’t feeling like my “raceself.” I decided a 1:23 half would be ok.

Mile 1: 6:15, Mile 2: 6:02

Mile 3 uphill: 6:35 I couldn’t hang with the 2:46 marathon pace group any longer (not for lack of effort!). Around mile 3 Lance Armstrong and Joan Benoit Samuelson’s group caught me. Perfect, I thought, since it’s not my race day I can at least run with two of the greatest athletes in the USA! I began running with them.

Mile 4 uphill: 7:07, Mile 5 uphill and some flat: 6:29, mile 6: 6:29 and then OFF the group, went leaving me in their dust.

I just couldn’t hang (yes, I tried)! I had no other race gear. I didn’t even come close to getting into the race zone frame of mind that I’m used to. Mile 7 downhill: 6:00 I gave 120% trying to catch Joan and Lance. I was getting closer. Mile 8 still downhill: 6:06 My effort was so high, yet I was going so slow and I knew it. They were not getting closer. I wasn’t going to catch them.

Mile 9: 6:33 I was just doing the best I could and started thinking of it as a training run. Mile 10 uphill: 6:49 Mile 11 uphill: 7:09 Really, Loken, a 7:09?! Mile 12: 7:02 Seriously, COME ON, get moving.

Mile 13: 6:34 Suck it up and finish this damn race!

Finish time: 1:26:50 and 5th place. No, I’m not satisfied with that. I could blame it on the humidity, the massive hills, and my sore throat. But, bottom line, I was not ready physically. No excuses. I just have a lot of work ahead of me.


  1. Great job Susan!

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